Rabelais and Renaissance Laughter
Barbara Bowen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This course attempted to situate Rabelais’ works in the intellectual context of what educated Renaissance readers found laughable. It concentrated on comic contexts, but also discussed contexts not intrinsically humorous (humanism, rhetoric, logic, law, medicine, folklore) which Rabelais transformed into comedy. The following topics were proposed for detailed discussion: (1) epic and mock-epic; (2) comic theatre; (3) humanist satire; (4) the humanist joke tradition; (5) the sermon exempla tradition; and (6) comic and satirical poetry.
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